Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Questions and answers

First of all, thanks so much for all of the feedback and comments on my "bye bye Gluten" post. I can't believe how many others are dealing with digestion issues when they run! I have been gluten free for two weeks now (I am being SUPER careful - reading every label, and doing lots of reading on the topic so I know what to be careful about, etc.) I cannot say that things are all better yet (although today was encouraging), so I am not sure if this will be the answer for me or not, although I know I need to give it at least a few more weeks.

In case it will help some others out there, here are some things that I tried prior to going gluten free (and I am still doing) that have helped, although not fixed things -

-no eating after 6pm (or 12 hours before a run/race)
-no eating in the morning before a run (although for marathons I drink a bottle of my sports drink 2-3 hours before the start). I usually run at about 5:15am so it is easy to not eat first.
-get up an hour before I am going to run to give myself plenty of time to use the bathroom. I do my strength/core training before I run anyway, so this routine works well for me.
-no dairy
-avoiding foods I know bother me (onions, broccoli, etc.)
-avoiding high fiber foods before races/big runs
-not getting dehydrated
-avoiding products with sorbitol (a laxative) like Nuun
-smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals

Here are some things I have tried that did not seem to help at all -
-probiotics
-Immodium
-Pepto
-peppermint oil/herbal remedies
-two prescription meds for IBS

I also got a lot of great feedback on my running video clips post. Josh had a blast riding his bike along side me and making the videos and I really enjoyed his company. It was great! I got a lot of questions so I am going to answer those -

If you could give some tips on how you perfected your form that would be great!...or is it natural? I am wondering if you can comment on your foot strike sometime. I have always heard it is better to land on mid-front foot and it looks like you are doing that. In fact, it looks like you run a lot on the front of your feet. Can you tell us what your coach says about foot strike? I try to get away from a heel strike but I see myself doing it in video. How can I change this?

I had never had anyone evaluate my running form until I met Coach Rick and I ran for him at the MIT track in Boston (two days before the Boston Marathon this year). I was pretty nervous, because I wasn't sure what to expect or what he would say (and of course I wanted to impress him). He gave me a lot of great, very encouraging and positive feedback, which was really exciting. Rick gave me similar feedback after he watched the videos Josh took. In fact, his email made me feel so good that I saved it. When you put so much time, energy, and heart into doing something, it is really wonderful to hear that you are doing it well. :)

While I have spent countless hours running (and practicing my form!) I have never worked at changing my foot strike. I do run/land on my mid/fore foot, and that is how I have always run, even when I am tired. I have never been a heel-striker. I know that there are many out there that say heel-striking is bad and that everyone should try and change to a mid-foot strike. I do think there is merit in some of the reasoning behind that line of thinking, but with that said, I am also a big believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". So if you are a heel-striker but are running injury-free, I would probably not try to change things. There have been lots of great runners who are heel-strikers. If you are a heel-striker and have had repeated injuries, then changing your form/stride may be worth trying.

There are things I have worked on with my form. I have worked to improve my leg turn-over (aiming for 180 foot-strikes a minute, always seem to be at 178!) and at being as efficient as possible and not wasting any energy with unnecessary movement. I also work on engaging my core and trying to keep shoulders, arms, hands, face, etc. nice and relaxed while I am running.  When I am very tired I have to remind myself not to let my shoulders round forward, and Coach Rick is having me work on having a slight lean forward from the ankles.


What goes through your mind to keep you going so strong, fast and steady?
What goes through my mind while I am running varies on my run and what type of workout it is. On an easy run I may chat with friends or listen to music, podcasts, or a book on tape. On easy runs (or during warmup miles) I often pray too.

But during a long run, especially a challenging one with lots of pace miles, or during a race or a track or tempo work out, I am pretty much concentrating all the time. I don't like to be distracted (I don't run with my IPOD) and I am very, very focused. (In fact I didn't even realize Josh was filming the longer clips until we were done and he showed me.) I focus on my breathing (keeping it rhythmic and relaxed), I focus on my form (going through a check list in my head regularly), I focus on my leg turnover, I focus on my pace, I focus on my energy and effort level, etc. I like to think positive thoughts, and I do have different mantra's that I use depending on what type of run (or race) it is.

 Also--silly but serious...the water bottle? I am trying to get off of wearing the belt. I just feel like its weighing me down but at the same time its sort of a security for me. How do you like holding the bottle? Does it annoy you at all?
I have always run with a handheld water bottle. I have used the Nathan 22 ounce handheld and lately have been using the Fuel Belt 22 ounce handheld. With my picky stomach, I like to carry my own hydration and fuel while I run marathons, so I know exactly what I am taking and can take it whenever I want/need it. The handheld has never bothered me at all, although it is fairly heavy when it is full. I am used to it though! In marathons I can't wait to get rid of it once it is empty (usually around mile 22-23) and if Josh or my Dad isn't close by then I just toss it.  (I have gone through quite a few water bottles....)

I have never liked or been able to stand any type of waist belt, fuel belt, or waist pack. They all just really bug me. And I wouldn't wear a Camelback for a marathon. So, the handheld is my best option. I know people that love them and people that hate them (just like the belts) so I think you just need to try them and figure out what works for you.

okay..one more question...the shorts. Do you wear a lot of glide or is it just me that gets chaffing when I wear those kinds? Any secrets will help!
In the video clips I am wearing my most favorite Brooks Epiphany Stretch Shorts. I love, love, love these shorts (and Brooks has a sale on all of their shorts right now!) Although I don't have super skinny thighs, I don't have any problem with chaffing. That said, I do "lube up" before a very long run or a marathon though just to be better safe than sorry. My favorite lube product is 2Toms Sport Shield and I use that on feet, toes, inner thighs, under arms, etc. for my longest runs and marathons.

Did you get some snow this weekend too? 
Yes, yes we did. Here are two pics from my run on Memorial Day morning. MAY 28. Craziness! You just never know what spring time in the Rockies will bring. I actually love it. :) Our high temps are back in the 60's this week so it is great running weather.


Do you always wear the compression socks, or just for the super long runs? Do you find it makes a difference?
 I don't wear compression socks, but I have started wearing compression calf sleeves. (My favorite are these ones from SKINS.) I never used to, but starting last summer I had a shin that would get sore to the touch on and off. It never hurt when I was running at all, but it was tender to push on. I started wearing these calf sleeves and doing toe drops/raises on the stairs (along with the ankle drops/raises I was already doing) twice a day and it cleared up. I like how the sleeves feel so have continued to use them. I don't like how the compression socks feel in my shoes though so I wear my Brooks socks and use these sleeves.


And lots of you commented on my matching outfit/shoes in the video. I usually don't pay much attention to that stuff for training runs, but since all my gear is Brooks, it is easy to match. Plus, that is my favorite top this time of year and I wear it all the time, and I always wear my PureFlows. :)

Thanks for all the great feedback, questions, comments, etc. More soon!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bye bye gluten

I have not written much about my stomach troubles while running. I have always included the number of stops I have had to make at portapotties in my race reports, but besides that, it isn't a topic I have brought up much, mostly because it is a little embarrassing and a lot frustrating.

But I have had major struggles with my stomach/cramping/digestion/diarrhea since I started running longer distances. Basically, during almost every run over six miles or so -whether I fuel or not- whether I eat first or not (I am better when I don't) - even though I "go" before I run - I have to stop and go to the bathroom. It is always an emergency situation, as in my only choices are to find somewhere to go, stop running, or have an accident. It's miserable, although I have learned to just deal with it (and plan routes so that I know I will have somewhere to stop if/when necessary).

I have tried over the counter meds, herbal remedies, prescription meds, and diet changes. Some things have helped a little. Some things didn't help at all. I saw a doctor last year who wasn't concerned. 

A few weeks ago I decided that I really need to get this figured out. To perform at the level that I want to I can't be giving up minutes on the clock in marathons, plus I am just so sick and tired of dealing with it. I went into our doctor and gave him the full story. He took it very seriously, and knows how important my running is to me and that I have set big goals. He promised to do all that he could to help (and said that when I make it to the Olympic Trials he will be able to say he helped get me there. Ha!) He ran a battery of tests. Everything came back perfect, with the exception of something very minor (that could have even been normal) that they treated with Penicillin just to be sure.

I started reading about gluten and Celiac's, and realized that I have many of the symptoms. I also read about a lot of endurance athletes with and without Celiac's who choose to go gluten-free. My doctor wanted me to eat lots of gluten so that they could do an endoscope and colonoscopy and biopsy for Celiac's, however, since I was just a few weeks out from a big race (and since there was no harm I could see in trying a gluten free diet), I decided instead to just go gluten-free, at least until Utah Valley Marathon, and see if it makes any difference. I figure that after UVM, if several weeks of being gluten-free hasn't made a difference, then I can go back to a normal diet for a period of time and then have the scopes done (as very un-fun as that sounds).

I am not the kind of person to self-diagnose, but I didn't see a downside to trying the gluten free diet and I am desperate to find something that fixes this. If my race wasn't so close I would have just had the scopes done first, but since I knew I wouldn't be doing those until after this race anyway,  it just made sense to me to try this now. So after lots of research, reading, and educating myself, I have been completely gluten free for a week and a couple of days now. Things are certainly not all better yet, but I do think there has been some improvement and I have read that it can take weeks or even months after going gluten free for the intestines to completely heal and symptoms to completely disappear.

I thought that the diet change would be very hard, but it really hasn't been. I eat a lot of fruit, veggies, nuts, eggs, potatoes, beans, and rice anyway. I had to find a gluten free oatmeal which was easy enough, and some gluten free bread for my peanut butter and jelly. I found some rice noodles (gluten free) for pasta and I am all set! The biggest challenge will be eating out, but we don't do that very often anyway. I have not had any problems getting in enough calories, nutrients or carbs, and I am feeling really great this week.

Anyone else out there on a gluten free diet? Anyone else struggle with digestive issues when running?

Thanks for the kind comments on my running video clips. I got several questions on those posts and I will be answering those in a post tomorrow or the next day. I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Run, run, run

I am headed out the door for a group run with my running club (it will be a nice and easy, slow, trail run. Should be fun!)

For those interested, here are two longer video clips that Josh took on his bike yesterday during my run. These were miles 16 and 17 of my 20 miler, and were run at a 7:02 and 6:53 pace. I am impressed Josh was able to ride a bike and video tape at the same time! I knew he was filming the short clips that I posted yesterday because he was laying in the road ahead of me, but I didn't know he was filming these long ones while he was riding along side me. I was pretty focused at this point!

Happy running and good luck to everyone racing this weekend!



Friday, May 25, 2012

20 miler and video clips!

Woo hoo! 20 miler is DONE. Splits were 8:26, 8:20, 8:10, 8:08, 7:56, 7:42, 7:43, 7:40, 7:22, 7:31, 7:04, 7:13, 7:09, 7:14, 7:01, 7:02, 6:53, 6:48, 8:48, 8:34

I am so happy and excited to have been able to run that run after a 90 mile week, and to feel as good and strong as I do.

110 miles in 8 days.

Bring on TAPER!!


Whatever happens at the Utah Valley Marathon, I am going into it healthy and strong, and knowing that I have more than put the work in.

Josh rode his bike along side me for the last 12 miles of today's 20 miler. The weather was NUTS! It was super windy (gusts up to 25mph) for awhile, it snowed for awhile, it rained for awhile, and thankfully the sun came out and things calmed down for the 10 miles in the middle.

It was great to have Josh by my side! He fought off a few dogs that wanted to eat me and got some video footage. Here are a couple of the very short clips from this morning.




Have a great weekend everybody!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

NINETY

I just finished a 90 mile week!!!!!!! (My training weeks right now go Friday-Thursday). I have a 20 miler tomorrow (with 8 miles at, or faster than, goal marathon pace) and then TAPER!!

Here is what my 90 mile week looked like -

Friday - progressive 20 miler (7:41 average, 1@8:34, 1@8:27, 2@8:13, 2@8:00, 2@7:42, 2@7:30, 4@7:13, 2@7:03, 2@6:58, 1@8:13, 1@ 8:20)
Saturday - easy 8 miles
Sunday - 12 miles - 8:23, 7:57, 7:27, 7:10, 7:06, 7:07, 7:13, 7:08, 7:05, 7:10, 6:59, 8:34 plus 5x100m strides
Monday - 13 miles total - 10 miles @ 7:51 average pace, plus 4x800 on track with 3 minute jog intervals
Tuesday - 14 miles at easy pace - untimed
Wednesday - 13 miles total - 10 miles @ 7:52 average pace, plus 4x800 on track with 3 minute jog intervals
Thursday - 10 miles at easy-ish pace

I didn't have any double days and I didn't split up any runs. With my schedule and life it just works best to get up and get my running done. 

Here I am after this morning's run, celebrating 90 miles run in a week.
Here is how I really felt...


and here is what happens within seconds every time I lay down on the floor...
Time to rest up for tomorrow... fingers crossed that the SNOW stops (yes, it is snowing right now) and that my legs will have enough juice left to finish my last 20 miler feeling strong.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little choices

I have been thinking a lot about life lately and about how who we are, what we accomplish, and how we live is largely a result of the little choices we make all day, day after day.

Sure, the "big" choices in life matter a lot. Who we marry, if we have children and how many, where we live, what profession we choose, etc. are all big choices that will have huge impacts on our lives. (I read once that the decision we make that has the biggest impact on our long-term happiness in life is who we marry. I did REALLY great with that decision!!!) :)

But just as much, if not more so, I think it is the little choices we make daily that really shape our lives.

Do I work an extra hour or play with my kids?
Do I take the time each day to really connect with Josh?
Do I say prayers or just go to bed because I am tired?
Do I smile?
Do I get stressed out/upset over little things or count my blessings?
Do I go to church on Sunday?
Do I show love and support to my friends?
How do I handle/respond to life's challenges?
Who do I talk to during the day and make time for (outside of my family?)
Do I read a book or watch TV? (And what do I choose to read/watch?)
The list could go on and on and on, although most of them boil down to "what do I give my time, energy, and attention to?" in one way or another.

Living a healthy lifestyle is the same way. It is not just one big decision, it is many, many small decisions every day.

Do I get up when the alarm goes off and exercise, or stay in bed because I am tired?
Do I really want to eat that?
Am I drinking lots of water?
Do I really want to eat that?
Stairs or elevator?
Do I really want to eat that?
Do I run even though it is raining (or snowing, or hot, or whatever)?
Do I really want to eat that?
Watch TV late or get some extra sleep?
Do I really want to eat that?
Am I making time to exercise?
Do I really want to eat that? :)

Again, the list could go on and on. When I decided to change my life and get healthy, I did not have any plans at that time to become a competitive marathoner. I did not even have plans to become a runner at that time. I never imagined I would lose over 80lbs. Slowly, I started making small choices that impacted my health (physical and mental), my fitness, my happiness, my confidence and my life, and was amazed as the changes came.

I started making better choices on what to eat and drink. I started choosing to make time to exercise. I started making time for myself each day.  I never could have imagined that just over three years later I would be where I am today. As I continue to strive to be the best athlete and runner I can be, I continue to make the little decisions every day that help me stay on track and help me improve.

And as I strive to be the best wife, mother, friend, and person I can be, I also pay attention to all of the little decisions I make every day, to ensure that my time, energy, focus, emotion, attention, heart, soul, and spirit are focused on what they should be as much as possible.

Here are two quotes on this topic from Gordon B. Hinckley that I just love.

"Have you ever looked at a great farm gate that opens and closes? If you look at the hinge, it moves ever so little. Just a little movement of that hinge creates tremendous consequences out on the perimeter. That is the way it is with our lives. It is the little decisions that make the great differences in our lives."

"The course of our lives is seldom determined by great, life-altering decisions. Our direction is often set by the small, day-to-day choices that chart the track on which we run. This is the substance of our lives—making choices."

What choices have you made that have had the biggest impact on your life?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Final Push

I hope you all have had a great weekend. Congrats to everyone who raced!! Things have been go, go, go, around here as usual. The good (best) news is that our high school TRACK SEASON IS DONE which means I get my husband back. Woo hoo! His schedule will be much less stressed during the week days now, and he won't have to be gone on the weekends. He has been coaching track since right after Christmas vacation, so the break (and more time with him) will be great. Yay!

My training is going well. I had a progressive 20-miler on Friday, an easy 8-miler on Saturday, and then a 12-miler this morning with 8 miles at goal marathon pace or slightly faster. It was a really fun run. This week I have 90 miles on the schedule. 90! I have done 85 miles quite a few times now and it is only a few miles more, but 90 sure sounds like a lot. There is a lot of intensity in those 90 miles (including today's run) but I feel really good/excited/confident about it.

I have really, really enjoyed this training schedule. It has been short (only since Boston in April) but I have loved the workouts. I have been able to find the "razor's edge" of pushing it, yet not pushing it too far. We have built mileage and intensity cautiously, and am evaluating how I am feeling mentally and physically. I have gotten to this point feeling good all the way around.

Since I went into Boston feeling confident and ready, this has been sort of "bonus" training, so I am feeling even more confident and ready. Boston did shake my confidence and discourage me some (it was just an extremely difficult race, physically and mentally) but I have been working on that a lot too. The mental aspect of training and racing is so important and I want to go into Utah Valley feeling happy, strong, and confident, and believing in myself, my training, and my abilities.

This morning I ran alone, without any music. It was a BEAUTIFUL clear morning, with the sun coming up over the mountains, and the roads empty and quiet the way that they are in a small town on a Sunday morning. I focused on my form, my breathing, and thinking positive thoughts. My splits were 8:23, 7:57, 7:27, 7:10, 7:06, 7:07, 7:13, 7:08, 7:05, 7:10, 6:59, 8:34. I finished up with 5x100m strides.

This week I will be paying extra attention to getting sleep/rest, eating well, rolling and stretching, and taking care of my body every way that I can. For the 20-mile progressive run on Friday, Josh is going to pace me on his bike, which I am really looking forward to. And then after Friday's run, it will be taper time! I am doing a two-week taper for Utah Valley Marathon since the two-week taper I did for Boston left me feeling rested but fresh (and was the first time I felt that I had gotten taper "right" for me).

So, it's the final push this week before Utah Valley Marathon. My goals for the week are to stay healthy, stay motivated, and get to taper tired, but happy, knowing I have put the work in.


What do you have going on this week?


Here is a funny for you!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Extreme?

I am resting up this afternoon. I had a tough workout this morning (10 mile "warm up" at 7:50 average pace, followed by 4x800m repeats @ 6:00 pace on the track) which wrapped up an 85 mile week, and I have a 20 miler in the morning (with eight of those miles at 7:00-7:15 pace). On top of that, Josh is leaving at 4am and will be gone until some time on Sunday for high school state track, so I am resting up for being a single mom again for one more long weekend.

Recently Josh was talking to a friend. The friend is someone that is overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, and starting to have some negative health consequences as a result of his lifestyle. Josh was saying how he thought that health insurance should work the same way that car insurance does - basically that we should be rewarded for "good behavior". (Lose weight, exercise more, be in good health, etc. would mean lower premiums or deductibles).

The friend's response was, "Yeah well, you live an extreme lifestyle."

That has had me thinking.

Do we live an extreme lifestyle?

I am aware that I am probably more invested in my running than many. I know that getting up at 4am everyday, running 80+ miles a week, racing multiple marathons a year, training at a high level, etc. probably seems "extreme" to a lot of people.

But the comment was made to Josh. Josh runs five days a week most weeks (when he is training), averaging around 35 miles a week. He does several running races and a tri or two a year. He has lost and kept off about 60lbs.  He eats fairly healthily but can and does eat pretty much whatever he wants. He is in great overall health.

Is that really an extreme lifestyle?

Then I realized that I was thinking "extreme lifestyle" was a bad thing. I looked up the definition of "extreme" and dictionary.com says, "Reaching a high or the highest degree; very great, intense".

Heck yeah then. Call me extreme. :) I think living our lives to the highest degree (in all areas), or at least striving to, is what we should be doing. (And I am currently reading and LOVING "Run the Edge" by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano which basically is all about this idea. I will post a more detailed review once I am finished reading the book, but this is my favorite read in quite a while).

I can't help but think that it is sad that a healthy lifestyle is seen by some as "extreme" though, and that it's perfectly acceptable for so many people to live life so passively. No one seems to think twice or have any problem with all the people who live their lives without any great passion... who settle for "good enough" with their jobs, their marriages, their parenting, their health... who forget about their goals and dreams... who give little thought to the care of their bodies...who let life happen "to" them instead of living life to the fullest. (And please, I am not saying you have to be a runner to live life to the fullest. I think there are countless, endless ways to live life to the fullest.)

I strive to live my life to "the highest degree" as much as possible. I want my marriage to be filled with fun, joy, happiness, laughter, passion, emotion, gratitude and LOVE. I want to be a mom who is involved, aware, playful, loving, attentive, connected, and treasures moments big and small - continually aware of how blessed I am to have these kids. I strive to be a loving, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, and fun relative/friend to my close family members and friends and to be there for people when they need me. I work hard at my job and truly try to make a positive impact in the lives of children in need. I try to find ways to serve friends and neighbors. I try to inspire others to find the kind of happiness I have. I am continually working on my faith and my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior, and striving to be the person He made me to be. And I work hard to be the best runner I can be and to reach my goals. I certainly come up short sometimes in all areas, but I keep trying!

My life is full. My life is good. My life is so very blessed. Extremely blessed. :)

So what do you think? Is an "extreme lifestyle" a good thing or a bad thing in your eyes? Do you think runners are extreme? How do you live life to the fullest?

Quotes!!!

"There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them." -
Charles D. Gill

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky
 

"Above all, try something." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent."- Marilyn vos Savant

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" -  Dr. Robert H. Schuller
 
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
“The sky has never been the limit. We are our own limits. It’s then about breaking our personal limits and outgrowing ourselves to live our best lives.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Favorite runs

Today's run was one of my favorite workouts. It was a 10 mile run with a one mile warm up, then eight miles at (or slightly faster than) goal marathon pace (7:15), then a one mile cool down. My splits today were 8:35, 7:08, 7:02, 7:05, 7:12, 7:07, 7:03, 7:08, 6:57, 8:10, and then I did 5x100m strides. My legs feel pretty dang good, especially considering I am in the middle of an 85 mile week.

Although seeing this run on the schedule used to make me nervous, it is now one of my favorites. I know I can hit the splits fairly easily, and running chunks of marathon paced miles is a big confidence booster for me. Confidence is a good thing!  (My 20 miler for Friday has four miles at 7:15 and then four miles at 7:00 at the end. THAT will be a decent workout for sure.)

I do also enjoy the challenge of track workouts and long runs. There is nothing like the feeling of finishing the last interval of a tough track workout or finally slowing to walk at the end of a long run. Victory! :) In my quest to continue to improve, I do look forward to the runs that scare me a little bit... the ones that I see on the schedule and get a little nervous about... the ones that leave me wondering if I can "hit" all the splits and run the workout as I am supposed to... the ones that I know are going to hurt a little more than most. Those are the runs that I think make the most improvement physically and mentally, and they are the most fun to celebrate when I am done. :)

Of course the easy/recovery runs can be enjoyable too. My favorite easy/recovery runs are the ones I get to run with Josh, Jenny, or the running club. Being able to chat away with people makes the miles go by quickly and I think it's fun to talk to someone while I am running easy. Jenny and I have started running up the canyon across the street again these last two weeks. It is dirt roads and gorgeous scenery, and the monster hills make you not even care about your pace going up/in, and it is all sorts of fun to run out (downhill!) of the canyon. Yesterday we made it four miles up and into the canyon before we hit a place where a snow avalanche from the winter was still blocking the road and we had to turn around. It takes that much snow a LONG time to melt.

I know it is the variety of different runs that lead to improvement as a runner and I know every run has a purpose, so I do try to embrace and enjoy whatever run I have on any given day. 

I have to say though that I am not much of a trail runner. I enjoy the canyon runs with Jenny, but trail running (as uncool as this probably makes me to admit) just isn't my favorite. I am a road runner. I love running on the roads. I love running fast on the roads. I love road racing. The trails are fun to mix it up once and awhile, but road running and racing is what I really love.

How about you? What are your favorite types of training runs? Are there any that you dread? Do you love running the roads or are you a trail runner at heart?


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Yay for Moms!!!

Happy Mother's Day everybody!!!

I ran 12 miles this morning - one mile for each of my kids. I did eight miles in the canyon (trails) with Jenny and four on my own on the roads.

It is a wonderful day, and I couldn't be any more blessed or grateful.

Whether you are a mom, have been blessed by a mom, or have a mother's heart, I hope you all have a very special and blessed day.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

10k recap

This morning I ran the local medical center "fun run" 5k/10k. It was definitely set up as a fun run and not as much a race. The course was all over the place with about 100 turns and lots of uphill climbs. It wasn't chip timed or anything either...just a "ready set go" and a siren (scared the heck out of me!) The course was also super long. I always run the tangents and usually on my Garmin my marathons are only two tenths of a mile over 26.2, but for this 10k my Garmin said 6.4 miles (and others were saying the same thing).

My time was 42:28 (adjusted) and I was first female and fourth overall. I felt ok...not super tired, not super speedy. I battled a side ache for two miles which I have never had before and my legs didn't have the zip in them I wanted, especially on the uphill sections, which was frustrating. But it was a fun morning.

The kids did AWESOME!!! Shane (12) took second in the 5k overall with a 18:31, and Ben (11) ran his first 5k in 25:18. Ryan (14) did his first 10k in 51:xx.

We are cool. And we know it. :)

I so love these dudes and am super proud of them!!!
I am a little disappointed with my time and would have liked to do better. A few people thought I could run a sub 40 time, although I wasn't thinking that was realistic right now (especially in the middle of 80-85 mile weeks and tough workouts). Josh and Jennifer have both reminded me today that I am not training for 10ks, I am training for marathons and that I shouldn't be disappointed.

It was a fun morning and it was great to see so many friends and neighbors out enjoying the sunshine and getting exercise. :)

Did you race today? Long run? I need to give a SUPER HUGE SHOUT OUT to the awesome Jennifer who rocked her 16 mile run today. It was her longest long run ever and she didn't walk at all. WOO HOO!

Friday, May 11, 2012

10k on tired legs

-Yesterday I ran a 10 miler at 7:50 average pace, then finished up with 4x800's on the track in 5:56-6:00 pace.

-Today I ran an 18 miler on the treadmill (Josh is out of town. Even though my almost 16 year old has no school today and was willing/able to hang out with Noah, I didn't feel good about being out of the house that long with Josh gone). It was a progression run with warm up and cool down (8:34, 8:27, 8:13, 8:13, 8:00, 8:00, 7:48, 7:42, 7:30, 7:30, 7:13, 7:13, 7:13, 7:03, 6:58, 6:58, 8:24, 8:26). Average pace was 7:44 for the entire run.

-My training weeks right now are Friday-Thursday. I just finished an 80 mile week and today was day one of an 85 mile week.

And... tomorrow I am racing a 10k! I have only ever raced one 10k (and did one virtual 10k on the treadmill) and I have never trained or had much strategy for short races (besides run like a wild woman) so I am not sure what to expect. It is a small, small local race. It is not chip timed and I am not even sure what the course is. And, I am really not sure what kind of shape my legs are going to be in after the last two days of workouts, but I am going to give it a go! I do really enjoy racing and it will be fun to do an event with family, friends, and neighbors.

Ryan (14), Shane (12) and Ben (11) are all running tomorrow (Ryan the 10k and the other two the 5k) and Nathan (15) will come run the 5k if he doesn't end up making other plans. It will be a great morning and as Josh said, "Team Henderson" will be well-represented. I love doing races with my kids!

I will be resting and recovering as best as I can for the rest of the day and thinking speedy thoughts for the morning. :)

Anyone else racing tomorrow? Good luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A brief conversation

Whew.

What a morning! I just dropped Josh off at the high school. He is on his way (along with the rest of the track team) to Track Regionals. To get to Regionals will involve a 6-7 hour bus ride. BLECK. Competition is tomorrow and Saturday and they should be home late Saturday night. The trip home should be "shorter" (more like five hours) because Yellowstone opens to traffic tomorrow and not having to go around the park saves a lot of driving time. I remember in NY when a "far" away sporting event for school was like 15 whole miles. Playing sports (and coaching!) in Wyoming has it's challenges for sure.

But hey - here is a pic from my running route this morning. (I took the pic on my way home from dropping off Josh). I do so love the mountains. I don't ever want to live somewhere without them.


I had a challenging workout today. I was up at 4am as usual and did my strength training routine. (I have been getting a lot of questions about my core/strength training. I outlined it all in detail in this post here. But the short version is that I do a core routine three times a week, a strength routine twice a week, and a flexibility/stretching routine every day. Strength and core routines are always first thing when I get up, before I run, or else they don't happen. Flexibility/stretching is always after I run, usually with Noah climbing all over me. I take two days off from the cross training and those are my long run days and my toughest speed workout days). I am a huge believer that to be the best runner you can be, you need to be STRONG and fit all the way around, so I am very dedicated to my cross/strength training.

After my strength routine I drove into town to the high school and parked, and then took off on a 10 mile run. The goal was a steady pace about 8:00, and I ran a 7:50 average pace with pretty even splits ( 7:49, 7:52, 7:56, 7:55, 8:00, 7:48, 7:37, 7:47, 7:51, 7:49). Once I finished the 10 miler the plan was to hit the track for a 4x800 workout (which is why I started and finished the run at the high school).

I felt good on the 10-miler but when I started that first 800m interval my legs and my brain had a conversation that went something like this -

Legs - "Um hey - I thought we were done."

Brain - "Nope. NOT done. You still have a track workout to do."

Legs - "But we just ran 10 miles at a decent pace. We are tired."

Brain - "Tough crap. It's only four 800's. Suck it up."

Legs - "But... but...but... we are tired."

Brain - "And we are running fast anyway."

They weren't my fastest 800's ever, but considering I had a good 10 mile "warm up" and that I am at the end of an 80 mile week, I will take it. They were consistent and despite some initial leg protesting, I felt pretty good throughout. 13 miles total for the day.

800 Splits were - 2:57 (5:58 pace), 3:01 (6:05 pace), 2:56 (5:56 pace) and 2:56 (5:56 pace).

And now I am tired.

While I go put my feet up and enjoy a tiny bit of quiet before the kids get home, here is a smile for you. It is only 30 seconds but it definitely made me laugh. I love Brooks! (And this would definitely work on my kids!) :)

Run Happy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday shorts

I am a sucker for anything related to moms/kids and I love anything and everything that has to do with the Olympics. (I can't even say how much I can't wait to watch the Olympics this summer! I am usually not much of a TV watcher but I will be watching as much as I can!)

 My friend Jenny told me about this commercial a week or so ago and then I finally saw it yesterday. I love this!! Take the two minutes to watch it, even if you have already seen it. You won't be sorry (although you may need a tissue!)


I had a fun run this morning. It was en eight mile "extremely easy" day (I haven't run single digits in a while!) and I ran the first five miles with Jenny up the canyon across the road. It was loads of fun to run on the dirt, and while the giant hills are never easy on the way in/up the canyon, coming out is a blast. And, we didn't get eaten by a bear or a mountain lion and didn't get charged by a moose, so that is good news (we have seen all three of those animals less than two miles from our front door up the canyon). Jenny had to get ready for work so I was planning on running the last three miles on the road by myself, but as we came out of the canyon another friend was running by, so I joined up with her for my last three easy miles.

I am still working on getting over this cold, but my body felt good today on my run and it was fun to run with friends.

Josh took me on a date last night to see the Avengers. I was really excited to see it, but despite my excitement and best of intentions, I just could not make myself stay awake. Sitting still after 8pm in a dark, comfortable place leaves me powerless to keep my eyes open. In my defense, I am up at 4am every day and I am running 80 miles this week. I did enjoy the beginning and the end of the movie, and the few spots in the middle I saw. And Josh loved it!

Today is May 9, which means I have exactly ONE MONTH until the Utah Valley Marathon.That's soon!!!!!

Are you a night person? I AM SO NOT. :) I am definitely early to bed, early to rise.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Run

Ok, maybe it wasn't quite as bad as the above title suggests, but Saturday's run was ROUGH.

I was looking forward to an easy-paced 10 mile run with Josh that morning, and when I got up my body didn't give me any clues (that I noticed) that I was going to be in for a very rare rough run. We took off, and right away I just felt off. I thought maybe things would get better as we went along and I warmed up, and they did for a couple of miles, but I was feeling SO tired. And even though we were going nice and slow and easy, it felt hard. (It was cold, snowing, and windy, but I have run in MUCH worse).

It was hard like, "Why is my house so far away?". It was hard like, I would have given up and called it a day if we hadn't been on a loop (and I have never once given up and called it a day on a run). It was hard like, I stopped and walked for little bit when we passed the eight mile mark. I never walk on a run.

And after walking for a little bit, I asked Josh if he thought he could piggy-back me the last two miles home, and I was only sort of kidding. He said he would (and he loves me enough that he probably would have tried if I had been serious!). I grunted and started back to running. I actually felt better those last two miles than I did most of the run, but when I got home I collapsed and felt like I had run much further and much faster than I had.

I wondered if I had fueled well enough after Friday's long run. I wondered if I hadn't gotten enough sleep last week (probably didn't, but probably never do). I wondered if I was getting sick, as a few of the kids have had a cold. I wondered if I wasn't hydrated well enough. I worried!

But I did everything I could to take care of myself. I drank water all day long. I ate well and made sure I got enough calories. I took it easy as much as possible and went to bed nice and early. I did not set my alarm for 4am like I usually do, but let myself "sleep in" a bit until I woke up on my own (and got EIGHT full hours of sleep).

When I woke up on Sunday morning I did have a bit of the sniffles but nothing terrible. I didn't feel overly tired or bad in any way. My resting heart rate was normal. I got up and got ready to run, still toying with the idea of a rest day. I looked outside at the beautiful sunshine, realized I felt great, I decided to go for it, knowing that I could pull back and take it easy/call it off if my body felt tired or off at all.

The plan was for 12 miles broken up like this - 1 mile @8:30 pace to warm up, then 2 miles @8:00, 3 miles @7:30, 4 miles @7:15 and 2 miles @8:30 to cool down, then 5x100m strides.  Nothing too fast, but not an easy run either.

I knew within the first half of a mile that it was going to be a great run. My legs felt fast, my body felt strong, my breathing was calm, and I felt great the whole way. Yay!

My actual splits ended up being 8:15, 7:59, 7:52, 7:27, 7:20, 7:30, 7:10, 7:07, 7:05, 6:59, 8:17, 8:16 plus 5x100m strides. I can't say it was effortless, but the paces came easily and it was a super fun run. I was extra happy to have such a great run.

Yesterday was an easy paced 10 miler and once again I started off feeling good and finished feeling good (despite still being sniffly).

And today the plan was for 10 miles with one mile @8:30 to warm up, then 8 miles @7:30, then 1 mile @8:30 to cool down. Actual splits were 8:14, 7:22, 7:20, 7:21, 7:13, 7:15, 7:16, 7:17, 7:12, 8:20. It was FUN and I felt great. I felt comfortable and strong the whole way and really enjoyed myself.

So yeah. On Saturday I had a bad run. I did my best to baby my body afterwards and look for a culprit, and then got out there and went after it again the next day (without letting the bad run mess with my head). And I am glad I did. While I do focus on the big picture and am very mindful of taking care of myself and watching out for signs of injury or over-training, I also think it's important to get my runs and workouts in. I know that not every day is going to be a perfect run and that some days will be harder than others. If I were to see a pattern of hard runs then it would be time to reassess what I am doing, but for now, one rough run out of many weeks of training isn't anything I am going to stress over. Especially since I have now had three days of really great runs and am feeling as good as ever.

On this topic, a quote jumped out at me in the June 2012 Runner's World. In the "Follow the Leader - Advice from the world's best runners" column, Andrew Carlson (a 30 year old Brooks runner who placed 6th in his first marathon - the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012 - with a time of 2:11:24) said, "Sometimes it's okay to not listen to your body, like when you're sore or tired. Unless you're sick or injured, listening too hard can cause you to miss too much of your training."

I get what he saying here. He isn't saying DON'T listen to your body, or don't rest when you are sick or injured. But he is saying that some days we are just going to feel more tired or sore than usual, and sometimes it's ok to train through it.

What do you think? What do you when you have a bad run?

Quotes!

"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory." - Ghandi 

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." - Vince Lombardi

"It takes a little courage, and a little self-control. And some grim determination, If you want to reach the goal. It takes a great deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin. No matter what the battle, if you really want to win, there's no easy path to glory. There is no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game; But its prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit; For a rugged disposition that will not quit." - Navy SEAL Masterchief

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordon  

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." -
Roger Bannister  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Observations

I have been reminded several times this weekend about how, even when we are not aware of it, people are watching us. People see the things we do. They see the way we treat others. People are paying attention and noticing, even when we don't know that they are.

When you live in a small town, chances are good that lots of people know who you are.

When you live in a small town and you have 12 kids and a multiracial family, chances are even better that lots of people know who you are.

When you live in a small town, you have 12 kids and a multiracial family, and your husband is loud, outgoing, funny, and liked by everyone, chances are super good that lots of people know who you are.

And when you live in a small town, you have 12 kids and a multiracial family, your husband is loud, outgoing, funny, and liked by everyone, and you run lots (and lots) of miles on the roads of the aforementioned small town, it is pretty much a given that lots of people know who you are.

When I first started running, I was overly aware at all the people that were seeing me. (Remember, I am a girl that is perfectly happy to fly below the radar!) When I ran past people's houses or businesses, or running super early or was out in the rain, snow or other extreme weather, I worried about what people would think. I worried about adding one more "layer" to the perceived craziness factor (which is already pretty high when you have 12 kids).

And then I got to the point where I just didn't care. I don't care who sees me running or what they think. I am running for me. I pay attention to the cars to make sure that I am safe, but I don't pay attention to who is driving the cars. Every once and a while I wave at someone who moves over or slows down for me, but I am not looking at drivers. (I would be like Miss America out there waving the whole run if I waved at everyone I know!) If being committed and dedicated to my running makes me "crazy", then so be it.

When people tell me that they see me running all the time I usually don't know what to say.

Random person - "I see you out there running all the time."

Me - "Yup. That's me. Running."

What else do you say? How's my form? :)

But once and a while someone will ask a question, say something nice, or will have a real conversation with me about running which is nice.

An older guy that lives here and has a business that I run past fairly often told me that he sees me running all the time and then added that I look like I am running "for something more" than just fitness. I told him what I was training for and my goal of qualifying for the Olympic trials in 2016 and he was very encouraging and said, "I knew it. I could tell you had big goals by the way you run." I never would have guessed he was someone who even noticed me, and I really appreciated his words and observation.

Then today at church I got a very sweet comment. A woman who I know, but not super well, came over to tell me that she loved watching me with my family because "it was obvious how much I loved them by how I looked at them and how I talked to them." She said I had love in my eyes and my smile. I had no idea that she had even been watching us or paying attention to my interactions (although when your family takes up an entire large pew at church you definitely draw attention). She also said that she could tell I was a woman of "great faith". I was definitely touched and humbled.

The best comments (and the most important to me) are the ones I get from Josh and the kids. They are the ones whose opinions matter the most.

I have learned through the years that even if it seems like your kids often aren't paying attention to what you do or say, that they definitely are. In fact, they don't miss a thing.

The kids often point out and talk about how much I "love Daddy", and it is important to me that they know that and see it by my actions. We were watching a movie the other night and getting settled in the front room and Marcus told me, "you can sit by Daddy because he is your favorite". Of course I also want the kids to know how much I love them, so when my Maggie recently told someone, "My mom LOVES being a mom" it made my heart soar.  And yes, I will admit that when teachers and friends in the schools tell me that the kids brag about my running to the staff and to their friends (even if they sometimes greatly exaggerate my placing, distances, and times!!!!!) it sure does make me smile.

This morning, while I was out on my run, Josh posted this on my Facebook wall, "You are at it again, training hard for another marathon. I should be used to this, but you continue to amaze me with your dedication and determination. I can't wait to watch you finish the Utah Valley Marathon. You are my inspiration and I love you." (Yeah, he really is that great). 

Three other random comments all in the last 24 hours -

- The waitress at dinner last night went on about how nice and well behaved the kids were several times.

- An older man at church (he has to be in his late 70's or early 80's and still runs!) came to find me and tell me that he read an article about what makes a good marathoner (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and that he just knew that I had all of it. :)

- And maybe the best of all - Josh's almost 95-year old grandmother, "Gramma Peggy" came up to see us yesterday with Josh's mom and sister. Her memory is fading quickly and she gets confused easily, but she loved being around the kids, and even cried with joy when she was reminded that they are all her great-grandkids. Before she left I was talking to her for a little while one on one, and then she gave me a great big hug and told me that I was a very good mom.

So yeah - just a lot of comments lately from different people that have reminded me that people out there - those very important in my life and those I barely know, are paying attention to my words and actions.

These reminders make me want to be better and to do better.

I hope that I can show by the the things I say and the things that I do
- that I am a happy, grateful, and loving person
- that I have a strong testimony, faith and love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
- that I am madly, passionately, forever and ever in love with Josh
- that I think being a mom is the greatest honor, joy, responsibility, and blessing (x12!)
- that I am very dedicated to the important people in my life
- that I truly care about others and want to make a difference in this world
- that I really love to run and am working hard to be good at it

Quotes! :)

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed." - Henrik Ibsen


"Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds." - George Eliot


"A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. " - Saint Basil


"We are what we repeatedly do." - Aristotle


"Words may show a man's wit but actions his meaning."- Benjamin Franklin

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spouse abuse, long run, podcast, and GREAT news

Happy Friday everybody!

I had an early start this morning and got my 16 miler done. I am doing my long runs on Fridays for now because it is Josh's easy/late morning of the week, Josh is often gone on Saturdays, and on Sundays it is hard to get a very long run done before church. I have found that I actually really like doing my long runs on Friday mornings, having a lounge/recovery day the rest of Friday (which is usually a lazy day/night for us anyway) and then having the weekend ahead of me. :)

Since the course for the Utah Valley Marathon (June 6!) is mostly downhill (check out this elevation map) I am trying to get all my long runs done with lots of downhill running to get my quads ready. I have done other races with similar elevation profiles and have never had any problems, which I attribute to race specific training.

I live in a valley surrounded by mountains, so Josh drove me out to what we call "the south end" and dropped me off at the top of the pass so I could run home. There are three decent uphill climbs in this run (one that is a full mile long), but the large majority is downhill, so it is a great route to get ready for UVM.

We left our house at 5:25am and it was dark and raining. As we drove south, the rain got steadier and heavier. Josh told me that it felt like spouse abuse to drive me out to the middle of nowhere in the dark and kick me out of the car in the pouring rain, many miles from home. :)

To be honest though, the worst part of the run was just getting out of the warm, dry car. Once I got running it wasn't too bad at all (except for maybe when it hailed for awhile) and I always enjoy my runs.

The plan for this run was 2 miles @ 8:30 pace to warm up, then 2 miles at 8:15, 2@8:00, 2@7:45, 2@7:30, 2@7:15, 2@7:00 and then 2@8:30 to cool down.

My actual splits were 8:26, 8;21, 8:15, 8:08, 7:54, 7:55, 7:35, 7:40, 7:29, 7:21, 7:13, 7:11, 6:46, 6:37, 8:42, 8:27. That 6:46 was the all uphill mile. I didn't look at my Garmin, I just ran hard and hoped I made the 7:00 time goal. Then once I hit the top of the hill shortly into the next mile (goal of 7:00 pace) it felt so much easier and so good to run fast that I got carried away and went with it since it was my last "fast mile" of the run and I love to finish fast/strong anyway.

My legs were definitely happy to get to the cool down section of the run. :)

I was completely soaked from head to toe and my feet were squishy in my soaked socks and shoes, but it really was a fun run. I will take cold and wet over heat ANY DAY.

This training plan definitely seems to be to get me used to running fast on tired legs. Gone are the days of easy-paced long runs. :) That's fine by me!! I like the challenging workouts and can see how these runs are going to make me a better marathoner. Yesterday my run was a 10 miler followed by 4x800's on the track, which was another good workout. Tomorrow will be an easy, easy 10 miler with Josh which I am really looking forward to.

I got home and got out of all of my wet/cold gear and into warm, dry clothes. After a good session of stretching and rolling with my stick, I got into an ice bath, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do since I was already wet and cold. But I am a believer that it helps my muscles, so I do it.

Now after a hot shower and some oatmeal, I am wrapped up in my favorite blanket, sporting my compression gear, and laying down with my legs up and resting while Noah climbs all over me. Life is good! It is STILL raining and we have a quiet, lazy family night planned here at home.

Yay recovery!!
 Thanks so much for all of your kind words and great feedback on my last post about finding joy and not comparing. I had several people think that I wrote the post for them specifically, and lots of people say that I could have written it for them, which makes me smile since I was writing it for myself. :)

This week I am featured on WalkJogRun's podcast, so if you want to hear me babble away about my schedule and running etc. you can find that by clicking here. :) It is about 27 minutes long and the "play" button is down under the second picture.

And, in the best news in a long time, the super amazing, world's greatest friend and virtual cheerleader is coming to see me in August and while she is staying with us, she will be running her first marathon here!!!!! Go give three cheers for Jennifer!!!! (And shout out for the Pocatello Marathon. I love this race. Love it! It was my first half marathon ever and my first BQ race.) Getting to run Jennifer in to the finish line of her first marathon in Pokey is going to make this race a million times more special for me. (And yes, I will be running it too). I am believing that Jennifer is coming all the way from Florida because she loves me, thinks I am cool, and wants to hang out with me, although it could also have something to do with the pancakes Josh has promised to make her. :)

Happy Friday everybody and I hope you have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Finding Joy

I am stealing this quote from Nancy's great post the other day.


What a wonderful quote! It is so relevant to running and to life in general. I can't imagine anyone wanting to do something that steals their joy, and yet how often are we happy with what we have until we see someone having what we perceive to be as "more" or "better"?

In running and in life, comparing yourself to others doesn't bring happiness. As a runner, if you play the "comparing game" there will always be somebody running more miles than you. There will always be somebody running faster. There will always be somebody running more races. There will always be somebody doing tougher workouts. There will always be somebody thinner and in better shape. There will always be somebody who in your mind can be seen as "better" than you for whatever reason. And on the flip side, you will always be "the somebody" that is running more miles, running faster, running more races, doing tougher workouts, and in better shape than others.

So knowing that, what good does it do to compare yourself to others? Does it make my accomplishments, goals, etc. any smaller because there are others out there that have done "more"? Or does it make my accomplishments, goals, etc. any bigger because there are others out there that have done "less"? I say NO and NO.

I am so genuinely inspired by other runners of all levels and abilities. I am truly awed by the elite runners who race so fast and with so much heart, and I am just as awed by the new runners finishing their very first 5k with just as much heart. There is nothing like being at the finish line of a race and watching the runners - the fastest and the slower - finish. I cheer for every one of them for all I am worth and it makes me cry every time.

I am truly impressed with anyone who runs - with those who run a lot, those who run a little - with those who run 5 minute miles and those who run 13 minute miles. I am impressed with everyone who gets out there and does it. I have been inspired and encouraged by so many and I love being a part of the incredible running community.

Some runners do get caught up in comparing themselves to others, and all I can see coming from that is discouragement. As runners, and as people, we have to find joy, pride, confidence, and happiness in what we have and in our own accomplishments, regardless of what others have and what others do. We are all on our own journeys, our own paths, and our own timelines. We all have different talents, abilities, goals, dreams, passions, challenges, obstacles, and plans.

My Noah is three and a half years old. He was born with brain damage, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision impairment and other special needs. He recently started being able to take 5-10 steps all on his own. Compared to most three year-old's he is "significantly delayed" and a handful of shaky steps is a skill that was mastered years earlier. But for Noah, those steps are a HUGE accomplishment. It is a miracle. It is joyful. We celebrate his accomplishments and cheer him on, without comparing him to others. 

Don't let comparison steal your joy or the joy of others, in running or in life. Support others. Lift up others. Be inspired and encouraged by others. Inspire and encourage others. Find JOY in your own special journey, your life, your dreams, your blessings, and your accomplishments, and find joy in the lives, journeys, dreams, blessings, and accomplishments of those around you.

Run your own race and find joy in it.

Here are some great quotes on joy. I strive to be the kind of person described in the first quote.

 "There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go." - Frederick Wm. Faber

"...focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." - Greg Anderson

"Follow your bliss." - Joseph Campbell

"The greatest gift you can give yourself is joy, not only because of the feeling that goes with it at the moment, but because of the magnificent experience it will draw to you. It becomes your mark, your nature, your name.  It is a wonder-working technique that will produce wonders in your life."" - Jack Boland

"The closer you come to your core, the greater is your joy." - Torkom Saraydarian
  
"Success is only measured in terms of JOY" - Abraham-Hicks

"True joy is that which gives us more energy and makes us feel more alive." - Robert Puryear